Before the call was made, Austin Hayes and his Orioles teammates were already leaving the field. That, as well as all inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards, knew the ruling would be overturned.
Hayes threw a seed from left field into home plate, and catcher Anthony Bembaum tagged Wander Franco. The initial call – which would have given the Tampa Bay Rays a 13th inning lead – signaled Franco to be safe. But left-hander Nick Vespi later left the mound with two goalless innings, thanks to Hayes’ hand. But there was an even bigger part: Vespy’s slider.
One day many expected catcher Adley Reutsman – the top prospect in baseball – made headlines for making the Orioles debut, the major league debut for the Wespi. It was his 20 sliders that made seven rounds, and his two innings that closed the door on the Rays.
And if it hadn’t been for that laser from Hayes to seal the last of those two scoreless innings of Wespie, it wouldn’t have been a deep shot from second baseman Rugged Odor on the night, to seal an 8-6 win for Baltimore on a second outing. Seals together – closes in several days.
The Orioles (16–24) had suffered losses three times and overcame them three times – first in seventh, then 10th and then 11th. But for all the comebacks, they could not produce a winning run until the 13th, when Smell detonated a cutter in the flag court just beyond the right field fence.
He knew that he too was gone. As did his comrades. As the Orioles left the field during a review of He’s Throw Home, he later threw back out with glee, throwing Gatorade over the smell as he crossed the plate.
The win broke a string of 15 straight Ray wins over the Orioles, although Tampa Bay still won 27 of the last 30 matchups between the clubs.
cruises through four
By fifth, it was all so floated for right-hander Tyler Wells. He made his first batsman run since April 21, but that first innings miss hardly matters. The 27-year-old retired the next 10 batsmen to come before him.
But when that fifth inning began, Wells’ no-hit bid ended quickly on an infield single to shortstop from Randy Arozerena. And after his second run, catcher Mike Zunino caught a high four-seam fastball and lifted it to the deep left, where he careened to a foul pole for a three-run homer. After one more batsman, Wells withdrew with 79 pitches to a season-high.
It may not have been as efficient as other starters – Wells found himself on six three-ball count – but he limited Tampa Bay to his 4 2/3 innings. Wells gave two hits, two runs and four runs.
He delivered a game that was within reach, as the seventh inning proved. And the bullpen kept that score to push the game into extras, with left-hander Keegan Akin completing two unscored innings—as he has done in each of his first 11 relief appearances, setting a franchise record Is.
Where is Adley?
When Joshua Davis Kelsey learned that his friend wanted to go to an Orioles game, his mind immediately turned to what Friday could bring. In her group chat, Kelsey wrote: “Adley Ratshman must have been coming from the minors that day… of course the stadium sold out.”
This was not to happen. When Friday arrived — as Monday rolled around — Reutsman was not in Baltimore. He was at Charlotte with Triple-A Norfolk on the bench after catching three days in a row for the Tides.
“It was tonight!” Kelsey shouted outside the Pickle Pub before the game, enjoying a bucket of Bud Light despite moaning over a missed opportunity to see Rutschman. The 27-year-old from Catonsville isn’t alone in this gloom, either, among 15,127 fans at Camden Yards.
There is little certainty about when Rutschmann could make his long-awaited major league debut. For now, the wait is on.
This story will be updated.
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